Success. Please note the new URL for this blog: swevenvolant.org. Counter-intuitive, but so am I.
The big tangle was in the "simple" instructions: "you need to create a CNAME record." That sounds complex, more complex than what it actually was: enter only the name server that Blogger provided (ghs.google.com) in the box marked CNAME. That's all it was. The Blogger instructions were confusing in that they're giving you a name server but the registrar forbade you entering any name servers. That was a breakdown in communication. While "create a CNAME record" is the technically correct phrase for the procedure, the laity who does not regularly register domains and point them to Web sites will have little appreciation for this kind of accuracy. I really wouldn't mind two sets of instructions, technical and colloquial, like a bilingual Bazooka Joe comic from Canada.
Oh, and that crotchety dude's advice to put the blog's URL in as the second name server: that advice was as wrong as it could possibly be. It doesn't go in the name server box, it doesn't go in the CNAME box. That guy's a dick.
Well, now I can get back to my regular blogging.